Explorer and hydrographer.
Joined the East India Company at Madras (1753). Worked as a storekeeper, writer, and deputy secretary, traveled to Indonesia and Canton, and urged the company to expand trade eastward. Nominated to command an expedition to observe the transit of Venus (1769), but ultimately lost the appointment to James Cook. Published travel narratives on Sumatra and the South Sea islands, a map of the northern Bay of Bengal (1772), and several pamphlets on Indian affairs. Served on Council of the East India Company (1775-77). Hydrographer for the East India Company (1779). First hydrographer to the admiralty (1795-1808).
Son of Sir James and Margaret (Ross) Dalrymple of New Hailes, Scotland.